A visit to a Tunisia zoo turned deadly, not for any of the tourists but for one unlucky animal. A crocodile died on 28 February after a group of visitors to the Belvedere Zoo in the capital, Tunis, threw large rocks at the reptile.
Denouncing the "savage behaviour", the municipality of Tunis posted images of the bloodied animal alongside a blood-stained stone slab and a large rock. "A group of visitors to the zoo threw stones at the head of a crocodile, causing internal haemorrhage that killed it," the post read.
Zoo veterinarian Amor Ennaifer confirmed the incident and explained that it was not the first time visitors have attacked animals.
"It's terrible. You cannot imagine what animals endure from some visitors," he told Agence France-Presse. "Citizen leave waste and plastic bags. They throw stones at lions and hippos."
He said that despite efforts by management to increase security, the zoo does not have the means by which to prevent all these attacks. "There are more than 150 species in the zoo. We can't put a guard in front of each cage," he said. "People need to be aware of the need to respect animals."
The death of the croc happened a day after a similar attack took place in El Salvador where Gustavito, a 15-year-old hippopotamus died after being brutally beaten with sharp weapons and other unidentified blunt objects. The Ministry of Culture said that intruders broke into the animal's cage and attacked him.
Caretakers were made aware of Gustavito's wounds after he refused to eat food the next day and was behaving differently.